Cardinal warns against bishops interferring politics

Published 16 March 2009  |  
The president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India warned against the involvement of bishops in the selection of candidates for elections.

Syro-Malabar Church supremo Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil said that Church "should not intervene in party politics."

"The Church is not against the candidature of a church member. But a bishop should not intervene in the selection of a candidate," he said, while speaking to reporters after releasing the book `Straight From the Heart' at Cardinal's House in Kochi.

He also stated that the Syro-Malabar Church, the largest group among the Saint Thomas Christians, would not insist on church people voting for an individual party.

"Political parties have good and bad qualities and it is for the individual to decide on casting his vote. Church only can ask the people to vote for the right candidates, but should not involve in electioneering and selection of candidates for particular constituencies," he said.

The cardinal wants people to vote for a "party that will ensure the sovereign democratic and secular credentials of our beloved motherland."

He said "special prayer services also will be held all over the country, to build, protect and defend our secular India and ensure constitutional rights for the marginalized and minorities in the country."

Over 700 million votes are scheduled to vote in the five-phased polls beginning April 16 and ending May 13. The Indian Bishops have urged voters to elect officials who will uphold democratic principles and the rights of the poor and marginalized.

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